The Big Valley

Season 3 Episode 4

The Time after Midnight

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 02, 1967 on ABC

Episode Recap

Jarrod pays a visit to a colleague, the District Attorney who is reopening an investigation into a notorious criminal by the name of Cunningham. Cunningham was originally acquitted of his role in organized crime, but the DA now has enough evidence he believes to put him behind bars. As Jarrod talks with his friend's wife, Aimee, a knock is heard at the door. The DA goes to answer the door, and is shot dead.

Cunningham is prime suspect in the murder, and Jarrod is asked to prosecute him. However, Jarrod refuses and suggests that the assistant district attorney, Mark Bromley, knows more about the case, having worked on it and organized the information. Bromley is young, it is argued, but Jarrod puts his confidence in him. Besides, with his DA friend recently murdered, Jarrod sees any interference as a conflict of interest. Having met personally with Bromley, he encourages him to put the murderous, land-grabbing Cunningham behind bars.

Word comes back to Jarrod that Cunningham and his cronies were seen meeting Bromley late at night in Stockton, and Bromley exited the back door. Jarrod is disturbed by the news, and suspects that Bromley is being bribed by Cunningham. He changes his mind, and decides to take the case.

After being paid a visit in his office by Cunningham and his two thugs, Jarrod realizes that they are serious in their threats towards him. Heath and Nick trail Jarrod wherever he goes, acting as his bodyguards. While in his Stockton office, Jarrod tells them that he is fine, and to go have a beer. When Heath and Nick leave for the saloon, a stick of dynamite is suddenly thrown through the window into Jarrod's office. The massive oak desk acts as a shield, and Jarrod is spared his life. However, he loses his eyesight.

A visit to a doctor reveals that Jarrod's blindness could be either temporary or permanent, depending on damage done to the optic nerve. There is no immediate means to tell. Instructions are given not to baby him, but to force him to do everything on his own like he normally would do.

Jarrod practices counting steps to learn his way around his own home. Aimee, the widow of Jarrod's late colleague, comes to pay him a visit. She wants to be of help to him, but Jarrod feels humiliated and frustrated when he has to eat in front of her. She leaves in tears, and he slams the tray.

When Jarrod goes against Cunningham in court, the defense attorney argues that the jury will be swayed by sympathy to Jarrod's condition and will want to side against his client for the wrong reasons. The judge overrules this, and deliberations begin. Within minutes, the sightless Jarrod knocks over a pitcher of water and then slips on the spill. Beyond humiliated, Jarrod asks for a recess. He tells his family that he cannot go on like this. Victoria tells him that "time is the enemy" when he says he needs more of it, because the longer he goes on, the easier it will be to be complacent. Jarrod listens to her counsel, and that night, over and over, he and Heath practice taking steps to learn the courtroom.

The next day, Jarrod is graceful in front of the jury. He backs Cunningham into a corner, and Cunningham's men lose it. The case is nearly decided. That night, the family leaves and Jarrod is left alone. He hears noises, and realizing that Cunningham's men are at the house, he goes through the house and breaks every single lamp so that the house is completely dark. One by one, Jarrod is able to outwit and subdue all three hooligans, and Cunningham is dead in an act of self-defense.

Finally, Jarrod's vision is restored, and he is able to pass an eye chart with flying colors while the entire Barkley family cheers.

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